Cover image for The crafty reader
The crafty reader
Scholes, Robert, 1929-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvi, 260 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR21 .S36 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This latest book from the well-known literary critic Robert Scholes presents his thoughtful exploration of the craft of reading. He deals with reading not as an art or performance given by a virtuoso reader, but as a craft that can be studied, taught, and learned. Those who master the craft of reading, Scholes contends, will justifiably take responsibility for the readings they produce and the texts they choose to read. Scholes begins with a critique of the New Critical way of reading (bad for poets and poetry and really terrible for students and teachers of poetry), using examples of poems by various writers, in particular Edna St. Vincent Millay. He concludes with a consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of the fundamentalist way of reading texts regarded as sacred. To explain and clarify the approach of the crafty reader, the author analyses a wide-ranging selection of texts by figures at the margins of the literary and cultural canon, including Norman Rockwell, Anais Nin, Dashiell Hammett, and J. K. Rowling. Throughout his discussion Scholes emphasises how concepts of genre affect the reading process and how they may work to exclude certain texts from the cultural cano

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

A well-known literary critic, Scholes (modern culture and media, Brown Univ.; The Rise and Fall of English: Reconstructing English As a Discipline) finds that reading is the route to intelligence and that it can and must be taught and learned. He asserts that, contrary to the New Critics and to years of instruction in English classes, texts are situated in time and place. Readers should be aware of a work's cultural and political context as well as of genre and the author's life and career, and gaps and inconsistencies in the text should be noted. Scholes demonstrates how fundamentalist reading or selective literalism fails but becomes one of the most powerful ways in which the public is misled. The essays are thorough, well reasoned, and articulate, and his suggestions on teaching will upend the curriculum. Essential for all teachers of English and librarians and for serious readers and book clubs; both academic and public libraries will want to add this title. Nancy P. Shires, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.